The coronavirus taught us about problems | Sunday Observer

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The most hackneyed question regarding Sri Lanka’s post-independence growth trajectory is the comparison to Singapore coupled with the question “how come Lee modeled the country on Sri Lanka and outstripped us so quickly?” “

It shouldn’t have been a hard question to answer if people had their antennas up, even rude ones. Singapore did not have an ethnic divisive problem that turned into an all-out war that lasted for years, keeping the economy underperforming for decades.

Singapore has not seen two youth uprisings, one of which nearly capsized the state ship. Singapore did not have an acrimonious two-party system that had politicians by their throats with endless impeachment dramas and political wrangling that unfolded whenever the economy needed direction and special attention because this aspect of governance had been neglected for years. anyway.

It’s the story of how Sri Lanka became the Singapore South Asia never had. This story can be seen strangely with greater clarity now more than ever before as we face this pandemic that has focused the country on this one issue of health crisis.

Notice how all the other issues related to ethnicity or language, or race, gender and class are no longer important because people have only one idea in mind: to see light in the dark. end of this tunnel.

MINORITY

It is not a respite. Dealing with the pandemic has been almost as daunting as meeting the challenges of war and internal political strife combined.

But it proved what we could never have learned from a lab experiment – that our so-called struggles are little tangles that have preoccupied us at the expense of growing our economy while keeping our country functional.

The pandemic has made some issues so irrelevant that the usual Agent Provocateurs have locked themselves in because they are too shy to show their faces and open their mouths. They are amazed that a simple virus has made them mere spectators of the national drama.

The bait race, rushing at each other for questions of territory, language and settling of scores is not a spectator sport these days because there is no audience.

People worry about how and when they would be vaccinated, or which family of doctors would steal their vaccines right under their noses.

No one wants to stir the pot these days and even if they did, the media wouldn’t bring their issues to the fore because this niche has been occupied by the virus. But there is no need to tear our hair out on issues of devolution and minority.

Essentially, these are divisions created that are then often fed and maintained by external elements. But these are not questions of real urgency. But, had it not been for the coronavirus, a number of issues would have been prioritized and presented as if the skies were crumbling if there was no resolution to these issues tomorrow.

The only issue that has recently received equal publicity for the virus has been the X-Press Pearl calamity, and it was not a political crisis. There were and still are various interested parties trying to take partisan advantage out of this issue, but it is not appealing either.

There were also some made-up tales of the port city, but none of them could be stirred up in a lasting way, as those corner issues that are calculated to cause cracks and obstructions are not important to them. people who focus on their livelihood and survival. during a pandemic.

PREDATOR

Divisions based on race and language are usually fodder for external players, but they don’t seem to need anything new to hamper this country’s economy as the pandemic does that job these days.

This should lead us to the question of whether certain aspects of this contagion are also made up – for it is not impossible that various elements will manipulate a crisis of this nature to cause disruption which could then be used to their advantage. For the first time since reasonably reliable GDP records began to be calculated after World War II, emerging market economies will contract, Foreign Policy Magazine says.

The industrialized economies of the West are undoubtedly hit hard, but when emerging market economies are hit, the larger economies could generally benefit from this collapse. Such predatory behavior could also be conceived. There could be economic hired killers lurking around trying to fish in our troubled waters.

While external actors have had to organize various crises such as sectarian conflicts in the past, there is a ready-made crisis that they can make the most of nowadays and it is called the pandemic.

Compared to 2019, global poverty in 2020 could increase by 120 million people. Compared to the baseline poverty trajectory, the 2020 figure is 144 million people higher. That’s according to figures from the Brookings Institution. Imagine that.

One hundred and forty-four million people have slipped below the poverty line as a result of the pandemic, and most of these people live in the developing world. The more the destructive effects of the pandemic and the more restrictions spread, the easier it becomes for loan sharks from credit bureaus and other external predatory elements to gain an average advantage.

When there are sectarian divisions and conflicts in the country, it is easy to dig ditches, but eventually these become visible, but the pandemic does not create that kind of conflict – it causes the swathes to collapse. significant economic growth and a consequent weakening of institutions results.

Tackling these situations can be done by stealth and it’s time for the world’s economies hit by Covid to guard against predatory behavior, whether it comes in the form of good news – financial aid – or otherwise.

It is also the moment to neutralize the elements of this society which are responsible for sectarian disturbances. Their bluff was called. People are not invested in their plans – if they were, the pandemic wouldn’t have stopped them from raising issues of race and language, and a myriad of other supposedly pressing national issues.

UNMASKED

There is no sound of discontent on these counts, and the only concern people have these days is how to get rid of the spread of the coronavirus.

The troublemakers have been exposed by the virus – they were the virus before, and a real virus has usurped their place.

That would be fodder for a full academic study in the future – and could be titled “How the Pandemic Exposed the Basis of Sectarian Disruption in Sri Lanka”. People would undoubtedly say that they were not fed bad news, during the pandemic, other invading ethnic groups and disruptive religious practices of other clerics.

Public television did not have time for these questions, because people cared more about their health than anything NGOs could tell them about how they are discriminated against.

They could also interview the usual divisive culprits. Where were they hiding during the pandemic? What was it like to be made totally irrelevant? Some gems could be discovered about how demotivated these people feel – and this information could be used in the future to demobilize this scum in the absence of a pandemic, and they will come out of the woods to do their dirty work again once. the dust settled.

Part of that research should focus on how the media saw the need to keep toxic topics off the air. TV executives would likely talk about ratings and tell their interviewers that people weren’t inclined to hear about peripheral things when it came to matters relating to their health.

The downside is that people’s health issues – or their hypochondria in some cases – could be exploited as well. That is why, when there is silence on other fronts and the country faces negative economic portents due to the pandemic, the General Observer of Events should try to make the connection.

Who is exploiting us this time around, and on what, should be a legitimate fixer under these circumstances.



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